tv Military Officials Testify on U.S. Armed Services Readiness CSPAN February 14, 2017 11:46pm-1:25am EST
like being in the white house. and then i told them the story about being in the room during this unusual exercise. but i told him, you can't use it. there were only these two women in the room who were doing this, these two guests, and then there was one or two staffers, and mrs. clinton. if you use it, everybody will know that i was the source. and i was very worried about that. but i trusted him. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q & a. officers from four branches of the military were on capitol hill to discuss the state of military readiness and how it's been affected by budget reductions. vice chairs of the army, navy, and air force testified. along with the assistant commandant of the marine corps. this is an hour and a half.
>> okay, folks. we are going to call the meeting to order. let me share a couple thoughts with you. 22 years ago, i became the chairman of this committee and i haven't since that time, because under the rules of the republican side, if you chair ranking member and other committee you can't chair a subcommittee and this is really the committee where really everything is happening. the problems we are facing today are the ones we deal with, so tim and i are going to do a good job of that. joni and the rest of the committee. the committee meets for the first time, the new session of congress, to receive testimony from you guys and you are used
to this after yesterday, and i think -- i don't think there's a member of this committee hasn't read what happened yesterday. i know i have. we are joined by the same group, we have all the vices here, general allyn, admiral moran, general walters and general wilson. i appreciate your sticking to this one more time here. last week, general mattis used the guidance of the administration's plan to rebuild and strengthen our armed forces but you know, i looked at some of the things that were said yesterday, some of the quotes, and i really do appreciate the fact that you folks came out and said things that weren't easy to say. we had general allyn talking about the army, only 3 of 58 brigade combat teams are ready to fight. we had general wilson talked
about how many of our force actually use the term hallow force, that's what we're faced with right now. a lot of the characteristics that we who are old enough to remember, remember from the carter administration -- yeah, the carter administration, know what we had to do the next -- the following years, so that's a very similar what you are going to have to do now. we had general walters, you talked about the operational tempo is as high as it was during the peak of the iraq and afghanistan war. we know the problems out there. when i tell people, and while i didn't always get along perfectly with hagel when he was in the senate, and i wasn't one of his strongest supporters when he came into being secretary of defense, when i read the statements that he has made from that position, it's a wake-up call to the american people who otherwise don't know. they're not exposed to this. that's when he said quote,
american dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted. so this is something that is -- we want to address, we want to accept as a reality and so we are going to have to improve our readiness, achieve the balance in addressing shortfalls and build a larger, more capable, more lethal joint force. those are the statements that were made, the three priorities that were given to this committee, major committee, just a week or so ago. so we have a lot of these problems we will be dealing with during secretary mattis' nomination hearing, he stated we were going to have to increase operation and maintenance funding while adapting to strengthening our military as the situation dictates. this means additional resources are needed and what i would like from our witnesses today is an outline of how you plan to restore the readiness to our armed forces and how we regrow our force, how do we maintain
the equipment that has been through two decades of war and how do we train that force to meet the national security requirements. so this is the committee where most of the action is going to be, and we have got a lot of work to do, and tim and i have already talked about this. we are going to see to it that we start getting a bigger attendance here and that we start addressing these problems that we should be addressing before they hit the major committee. senator kaine? >> thank you, mr. chair. you have done a better job arm twisting on your side of the table than i have. >> i guess so. >> i have to up my game here. welcome to the witnesses. this is an interesting hearing. the witnesses, did you know this, mr. chair, our four witnesses have a combined 142 years of combined military experience. so that means i know we are only going to hear the most astute wisdom today. there is a limit to what we can discuss in open session so i would just say at the start that all colleagues on the committee are encouraged to read the classified readiness reporting
that is available to members of this subcommittee. i am pleased to be the ranking. i work very very well with the chairman. we have a good relationship and i know this subcommittee will continue the bipartisan tradition that is its norm. the military does suffer from an unacceptable level of readiness. i said to the chair as we walked in some of what we will hear today, we heard last year and we heard two years ago. somebody said maybe if we listened, history wouldn't have to repeat itself. the first step we ought to take to address this vulnerability is to provide more predictable and stable funding for men and women in uniform. the new administration has made some comments about spending that i agree with, a desire to boost military spending and repeal sequestration for the dod, but we haven't heard the same commitment with respect to repealing sequestration for the whole government. the chairman of this committee, chairman mccain put out a report suggesting that should be done, and even if your focus is specifically on national
security, it's still very important that sequestration, we look at it not just on the dod accounts but on all of government because whether we are talking about homeland security, state, the dea, the nuclear reactor portion of what the department of energy does, there tr so many things in the non-defense discretionary side that really are integral to our security challenges. we have got the responsibility to help dod restore readiness as soon as possible. we will be getting good information that we can use as information to persuade our colleagues of this. i am concerned about one recent development, the hiring freeze that was issued on january 23rd for federal civilian employees. it was not a permanent hiring freeze, it was a temporary hiring freeze to analyze what should be done and i hope it is, in fact, temporary because this does have a readiness impact on shipyards, depots, air logistics centers, but also on other federal agencies because the federal agencies serve the employer of choice for veterans.
so when you do a hiring freeze at the federal level it falls most disproportionately on the veterans that are hired so significantly into the federal government. at a time when we are losing shipyard depot workers and others to retirement and sequestration related attrition, i'm afraid that a freeze like this if it continues could really hurt us both on the readiness side and be unfair to our veterans. i am pleased in hearing from our witnesses today about plans to rebuild readiness and what exactly does a fully funded ready force look like. each service branch has its own measures of readiness and some of the most interesting discussions we have had in these hearings in the past is exactly what is a readiness measure. -- readiness measure mean. i used to say as governor, i could measure everything but the one thing that scared me was measures of emergency readiness. i can measure an unemployment rate. i can measure graduation rate. but what was the measure for what we would do if there was a hurricane tomorrow. those measures are tough and the need for the committee to understand exactly how we measure the readiness in the different branches is very important.
i understand the hearing today from the air force is they would like to increase the number of fighters squadrons from 55 to 60. so what are the research requirements we have to grapple with in the committee and those who are on budget and appropriations to get to that, and what is the appropriate time frame we should be looking at to make that kind of advance. this committee also deals with milkon and facility sustainment issues and these are important matters to readiness too. when we talk about increasing military spending, i do think there is this area where we can do better and that's increasing the o & m funding for facilities sustainment restoration and modernization. we will be getting into some testimony that i'm really interested in on the shipbuilding side but as a general manager, if we are resource pressed and end up having fewer facilities it ends up more important that the fewer we have, we maintain to a higher level. that's not necessarily what we are doing now in purchasing -- in the mill con area or purchasing platforms.
our installations have for a long time had to defer necessary maintenance. if we don't address backlog soon it just leads to higher long-term costs and risk that decrease quality of life for our troops. so i hope we can look at the fsrm accounts, increase as much as possible. i hope we can increase military construction across the active and reserve components. if we can increase those two accounts in particular, we not only improve the readiness in installations in every state, it would also bolster the resiliency of facilities and we need to work together to make this happen. one area that's important to me and important to the chair, we have some slight differences on it but areas of agreement, too, is the area of energy. dod is the largest user of energy in the federal government. i support the military's effort to invest in technologies and alternative sources that not only improve readiness but increase combat capabilities by extending range, endurance, lethality and energy resilience
for our installations and especially for forward operating bases. whether dod is confronting cyberthreats or vulnerabilities in its energy supply or protecting against severe weather events from a readiness perspective, we have to make sure we make investments in energy resiliency and we did those in section 2805 in the 2017 ndaa, and i hope we will continue to do that. so mr. chair, thanks again for today's hearing. to start this discussion that will roll up into the ndaa work we will do as a full committee. i'm excited to work with you as the ranking on this committee and very gratified we have the witnesses here today. >> well, thank you, senator kaine. it will be easy for you guys because you can use the same opening statements you used yesterday if you want to. we want to hear it, we want to get it on record. some of the things, very bold statements that were made, it's worth repeating because this is for our record over here. we are going to be very aggressive trying to make the changes necessary to bring our defenses up. feel free to do it.
we will start with you, general allyn. try to keep it down somewhere around five minutes, all right? >> thank you, chairman. ranking member kaine, distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify on the readiness of your united states army. i appreciate your support and demonstrated commitment to our soldiers, civilians, families and our veterans and look forward to discussing the strength of our army with you today. this is a challenging time for our nation and certainly for our army. the unipolar moment is over and replacing it is a multi-polar world characterized by competition and uncertainty. today the army is globally engaged with more than 182,000 soldiers supporting combatant commanders in over 140 worldwide locations. my recent travel, i visited soldiers in 15 countries since veterans day, reinforces that
the army is not about programs. it is about people. our people executing security missions all around the globe. the strength of the all volunteer force truly remains our soldiers. these young men and women are trained, ready and inspired and we must be similarly inspired to provide for them commensurate with their extraordinary service and sacrifice. to meet the demands of today's unstable global environment and maintain the trust placed in us by the american people, our army requires sustained long-term and predictable funding. absent additional legislation, the caps set by the budget control act of 2011 will return in fy '18. that would be october of this year. forcing the army to once again draw down in strength, reduce funding for readiness and increase the risk of sending